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What’s the difference between spending time together and having quality time together?

Today, Glen and I are celebrating seven wonderful years of being a couple. He asked me to be his girlfriend on 24 October 2009 and since then I’ve upgraded to “wife” status and I couldn’t be happier.

We are by no means relationship experts, but we’ve figured out a few things that work for us and help us to love each other and demonstrate our love better. We’ve always known that romance doesn’t always come easy and sometimes it takes more work than other times. Sometimes we have to make a little extra effort to show our appreciation and it is totally worth it.

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Glen and I both work from home so we get to spend a lot of time together. We pretty much spend 95% of our time together and we aren’t sick of each other. However, because we spend so much time together we can easily be tricked into thinking we’ve had loads of quality time together. But really, how much of our time together is quality time? We often have to evaluate how much of our time has been spent watching TV and just doing things in the same room.

Think about how much time you spend doing things with your partner where you are both facing the same direction. Watching TV, playing Playstation, and driving in the car. Now, I will say that there is a time and a place for doing things together that allow you to both “switch off”. After a long day of working hard and being exhausted, it is totally okay (and sometimes necessary) to watch TV and just veg on the couch. Being able to do nothing together is a sign that you are completely comfortable together and you don’t have to be entertaining one another in order to relax.

We will continue to switch off together because it’s something we enjoy. During our lunch break we watch MasterChef Australia and we love it. It makes us cook better and we find ourselves emotionally invested in a stranger’s food journey. We like it and I know a lot of other people who do too. I’m not telling you to stop watching TV together, because I’m sure as heck not willing to make that sacrifice.

So, something we have implemented is quality face-to-face time. Every day, we try to spend at least an hour together where we are facing each other. This is a great time to make a cup of coffee and chat, to bring out our favourite board game or to read to each other.

We’re also making more of an effort to sit on the same couch. Our lounge is laid out in such a way that we could each have our own couch that faces the TV. It’s pretty comfortable, but it makes it really easy to each be doing our own thing in the same room. So, now when we watch TV we try to sit on the same couch. It’s more of a squash, but it’s totally worth it. I’m not a huge cuddler but I do like to be close to my husband, and sitting on the same couch allows me to do that.

Here’s my challenge to you: this week, find an activity that you can do with your partner where you are facing each other. Make a point of getting at least 15 minutes of face-to-face quality time together. You don’t have to have deep conversations. You just have to be looking at each other.

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